What is the Philosophy of the organization?
The Five Ps consists of the Purpose, Philosophy, Priorities, Practices, and Projections. (See image below.) In this model of the Five Ps, just outside of the Purpose–which is in the center– is the Philosophy. Where the Purpose states “why” the organization exists, the Philosophy directs “how” employees do their work. And “how” you do work matters.
The Philosophy directs behavior across the organization. In successful organizations, employees consistently use the organizational Philosophy to guide their decisions and daily actions.
The organization’s Philosophy is its distinctive and enduring principles and values guiding employees
The Philosophy may be one value or a small set of values. Of course, many values may feel important, but the organization’s Philosophy is only the value or values that are fundamental, distinguishing, and enduring to the organization. They are the beliefs that have been essential and core to the character of the organization over the years. Employees believe that their Philosophy distinguishes their organization from others, particularly those which fulfill a similar Purpose. And the organization’s Philosophy is the enduring core beliefs that should never change–unless an organization cannot stay in business sustaining that Philosophy. The organization’s Philosophy is extremely important.
The Philosophy of an organization is like the personality or character of the organization. This character is typically derived from the organization’s founder, or from the principles and ideals that drove the organization’s creation.
The Philosophy is enduring. Therefore, it is what employees believe in today, what was most important in the past, and what will continue to be important in the future. Where the Purpose is the heart of the organization, the Philosophy is its soul.
The five Philosophy criteria
Think about these criteria when evaluating if a value is part of the Philosophy:
- First, is it a prime principle or value?
- Second, does it guide “how” we do our work?
- Third, is it a source of our distinction?
- Fourth, is it derived from our founder/leader or the ideals that drove the organization’s creation?
- Fifth, if changed, would that alter the character of the organization?
Key points about the Philosophy
Philosophy of an organization is a/an:
- Value or small set of principles or values that are fundamental, distinguishing, and enduring to the organization.
- Special attribute that the founder/leader possesses that has influenced the character of the organization.
- Source of the organization’s distinctiveness.
- Enduring framework for “how” employees do their work.